Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle
Friday, August 24, 1894
MONSTER OF ISSOIR
Mystery of the Fourteenth
Arrondissement of Paris
Singular disappearances of Many Inhabitants
of the Quarter - Enticing its victims With Music -
Death of the Gigantic Spider.
For many years it is undeniably stated
that in the fourteenth arrondisement
of Paris - called the tomb of Issoir-
a number of persons living in that
quarter had mysteriously and periodically
disappeared. The most careful
researches, the most minute inquires, the
most skillful agents of the Police had
failed to discover the least trace of them.
Every year successively some inhabitants
of this quarter would suddenly disappear,
leaving their friends overwhelmed with
grief and anxiety. It is
also stated that these strange, inexplicable
facts always occurred in the early spring -
from the 20th to the last of March- and
without regard to age or sex.
First a notary disappeared. It was
thought he had used his client's funds
and fled to parts unknown. then an old
woman, returning late one night from
Market, was the next victim, then a laborer
going home from work. The last
victim had been a young girl - a flower maker
out late delivering her goods.
From that ime she had as completely
disappeared as if the earth had opened
up and swallowed her up. Strange to say,
10 children had been among the victims.
This peculiar fact was accounted for
in this way. These mysterious disappearances
always occurred late at night,
when children were at home asleep.
As the time was drawing near for one
of these periodical mysteries the Chief
of Police became anxious and
instituted a strict surveillance, confiding
the matter to a number of the most skillful
of his assistants, hoping the combined
efforts of so may zealous agents
would surely be crowned with success.
You will now see the result.
One night - this fact can be verified
by applying to the office of the prefecture -
a policeman about 3 o' clock in the
morning heard a distant musical song,
which seemed to come from the bowel's
of the earth. He listened and fancied
the sounds came from an opening in the
center of the street, at the foot of an
enormous rock called the Tomb of
Issoir, or the giant's cave.
It may be interesting to state that this
rock derived its name from a legend
that a great giant had been buried there
many years before the Christian era,
and this rock had been placed there to
mark the tomb.
Surprised at this strange discovery --
for the opening had never been noticed
before -- the policeman waited, listening
to this peculiar song, when he suddenly
saw a young man approaching. He knew
from his his costume that he was a
countryman lately arrived in the city.
This young man also seemed to hear
the subterranean sounds, first walking
slowly with a peculiar wavering step,
as if in cadence with the musical chant,
then faster and faster as he drew near
the fatal rock, until he ran with such
velocity that in spite of the warning
cries of the policeman he was swallowed
up in this mysterious opening. without
taking a moment to consider the
recklessly followed, first bring
his revolver and giving one or two
vigorous blasts on his whistle.
At this signal several of his comrades
quickly arrived. The musical chanting
had ceased, but they could hear in the
dark, cavernous depths the muffled
sounds of a desperate struggle.
By the aid of ropes and ladders they
succeeded in entering this mysterious
chasm. The light of their lamps revealed
a sickening sight.
The countryman was lying on his
back writhing in the grasp of an
unknown monster, whose horrible aspect
froze the agents of police with terror.
It was as large as a full grown terrier,
covered with wart like protuberances
and bristling with coarse brownish
hair. Eight jointed legs, terminated
by formidable claws, were buried in the
body of the unfortunate victim. The
face had already disappeared.
Nothing could be seen but the top of the head,
and the monster was now engaged in
tearing and sucking the blood from his
As soon as they recovered from their
horror and surprise a dozen balls struck
the body of this sanguinary beast.
He raised up on his legs, a greenish
bloody liquid flowing from his wounds
and with a frightful cry, expired.
The first policeman who had given
the alarm, was lying unconscoius in one
corner of the cavern, where he had fallen,
a distance of 30 feet.
It was with great difficulty they succeeded
in removing the tow bodies and
the unknown monster from the cavern.
The poor countryman was dead,but the
policeman was restored to life.
The agents immediately sent for the
commissioner of police, who summoned
a naturalist in great haste.
The first established the identity of
the victim; the second declared the
creature lying before him was a gigantic
spider. The species had been considered
extinct for centuries - ever since
the days of the deluge. It was called
"Arachne gigans" and was said to have
peculiar musical song. None had been
seen or heard of for ages., but it is now
believed some of these sanguinary
beasts still exist in the deepest galleries
of the catacombs.
The dead body of the spider was
conveyed to the Museum of Natural History,
where it was carefully prepared
and stuffed and is now on exhibition --
Once a week.